Excerpt Chapter 5 of Mach II With Your Hair On Fire: The Art of Vision & Self Motivation In our developmental years we form our personality. These years encompass prenatal through about age 5, and perhaps longer in children who are slow to develop emotionally. During these childhood years, without the vast background of context and reason we have as adults, we tend to experience events and “decide” who we are versus deciding what happened. An example might be that as a 3-year-old you bugged Daddy to let you sit on his lap while he was reading the paper. He was stressed, tired and very interested in what he was reading. He also was not aware that the slightest discord on his part could actually lead you to form a life-long personality. So his reaction was: “NOT NOW,” and it was a little stern. NULL
You are shook. You feel rejected. You decided in that moment: I AM NOT ENOUGH, or I AM NOT GOOD ENOUGH, or I AM NOT LOVED, or I AM NOT WORTHY OF LOVE. This kind of “I AM-ing” is common amongst firstborns with some time before a second born; time enough for the firstborn to feel special and unique and fully loved, UNTIL HE CAME ALONG! How dare he. Who is he? Why is he here? “I must not be good enough.”
This type of decision is not like the ones you and I make today. Nor is it a commitment to anything. It is an “I AM-ing.” A potentially permanent decision about who you are.
As I told you in my story I made several of those based on the certain events. And I made other even earlier in life that made me angry and resentful. Out of these decisions we form a personality either to keep the decisions in place or actually rebel against them. For example, if in the above scenario you make the decision that you were not good enough you would either act that decision out in life, or act out proving it might not be true. Either way, the decision “not good enough” is the source of much of what you do, who you associate with (marry, etc.), how you perform at work, the kind of work you do, your health and your wealth, and the quality of your relationships.
You will either succumb to it or spend your entire life trying to prove to yourself that it is not true. There is no freedom in that personality… no peace, no authenticity and no power. Life is a constant struggle.
(P.S. Motivating a “not good enough” that rebels against it is easy. Just tell them they can’t do something, insinuating they are not good enough. They will do whatever it takes to prove you wrong. This is not healthy motivation but it does produce some results.) It is the “I AM-ing” that you will be taking on in the work of this book. Those decisions that we made early on that define us and lit us to being merely a reaction to an everyday occurrence to which, as adults, we would not give a second thought. The “Art of Deciding” requires some distinctions. A Decision of Who You Are. An “I AM-ing.” As discussed above, this is an emotional decision made one time, that in 99 percent of us is permanent for life. We make many of these by age 5, and others at key moments in our lives when we are most vulnerable or in a moment of epiphany. Perhaps during puberty, a death, a divorce or any life-shaking experience. A Decision of Convenience. We make these kinds of decisions all the time. Something happens, or someone says something, or we encounter an opportunity and we make a decision to do something or even perhaps to become somebody more than we really are. We make these decisions because “it seems like a good idea at this time.” We call this a decision of convenience. In the moment, it feels right and is easy. Most decisions in life are made this way. And obviously, they produce little or nothing. Why? Because what feels easy today, as you embark on any kind of change or progress, will quickly no longer feel easy or convenient. So what do we do? Of course, we decide to quit doing it. A Decision to Commit. This is the kind of decision that produces results and permanent change. It is a decision the quality of which has long-term forward thinking to back it. It has resolve. It has a sense of “zero tolerance” for the current state of affairs. (Often this quality of decision is only made when we are at the end of our rope; when we have wreaked so much havoc in our lives that we cannot stand ourselves any more… somewhere right before a complete emotional, physical and or financial train wreck.) A decision to commit involves the distinction of commitment, which is a decision to do something NO MATTER WHAT. It goes beyond the “JUST DO IT” slogan, to… A commitment is a decision to do something, to be something, no matter the obstacles; mo matter whether you still feel like it next week, no matter how hard it gets, no matter how many times you fail, no matter what results you are creating. A commitment pays no attention to the outcome, other than to refine strategy. Results do not alter the commitment to persevere.
A commitment is a Vision is a Commitment; and as such, they cannot and will not, be denied. Every power inside you, outside you and swirling in the universe – whether you call it Nature or God – is summoned to draw you to fulfill a commitment. The more committed one is, the luckier they are. Richard B. Brooke
So how do we make a commitment? Sometimes, especially when we cannot tolerate ourselves anymore, and sometimes when just the right mix of incentive floats by, we can make a commitment instantaneously. And waiting for either circumstance is a perilous game. The art of making commitments is a character trait we can choose to practice. We make a commitment with the full and conscious intention of bringing it to fruition. And we keep making that commitment – or, if you will, returning ourselves to it over and over and over again – as often as we need to, until it takes on a course of its own or becomes part of us… habitual. Just making a commitment does not mean we will not have setbacks, failures and days of total despair… days when all we can think about is how and why it makes perfect sense to forget that commitment. And if we are committed, when we are done peeing and moaning we return ourselves to our commitment and get back on track.
The most powerful place to use commitment is to change what you believe about you; to free up your spirit by letting go of a personality formed by an angry or disappointed 3-year-old.
You and I can decide we are somebody different: somebody whole, somebody lovable, somebody peaceful and powerful. We can decide that because we have more to bring to the conversation than a 3-year-old. And, we have much more at stake. In an interview with Golf Magazine in May 2005, world-renowned golf pro Tom Lehman responded to the following questions, which perfectly illustrate the power of commitment: What was the best advice you ever got? The best advice ever was from Corey Pavin, in the 17th fairway at Oak Hill in the 1995 Ryder Cup. We were playing Nick Faldo and Colin Mongomerie in alternate shot, and the weather had just turned terrible. It was raining sideways and the temperature had dropped.
The match was tied, and I said, “Corey, I’m so nervous I can’t even breathe.” He said, “It’s simple: Just get committed and swing.” That’s all he said, and he slapped me on the back and walked away.
The next hole, he hit a pretty good drive in the first cut of rough. They hit it in the deep stuff and had to lay up. I had a 5-iron, 205 to the pin, 185 to the front. I got committed and swung and just crushed this 5-iron right to the front part of the green, and we two-putted and won. That really sums up golf, because that commitment allows you to go ahead and make a very directed and positive swing, which leads to good shots, which lead to confidence.
You’re 46. If you could go back and give young Tom Lehman advice, what would it be? Easy: Get committed and swing. I wish I’d known Corey Pavin when I was 25.
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